Monday, April 13, 2009
This entry is the first of a feature that will appear between two and three times a month, profiling how the media and general baseball fans feel about the Marlins.
Before the season it seemed like most publications and television shows set up a Marlins bandwagon but just weren't ready to hop on. They would be talked up like they had a chance to compete but when it came down to it, most said something to the effect of, "not this year, too young, just not good enough." All that seems to be changing though after an impressive 5-1 opening week. The sweep over the Nationals wasn't a great feat (The Braves just duplicated it) but it was the way they did it that made the league notice. They got solid starting pitching and just pounded out hits and runs cruising to two easy wins and one easy turned mildly difficult triumph. Sure the media gave credit for the 3-0 start but it was still accompanied by, "here come the Mets, this will be a real test." Well, there was some great baseball played this weekend and the Marlins were able to win two close ballgames while dropping the middle contest. The starting pitching was even better while the hitting was less productive but more timely. Now a lot of the "maybes" are turning into "probables" when referring to whether the Marlins can be in the hun into September. I'd say the Marlins bandwagon is about 60% full. Many have come aboard, but there is still plenty of room. The midweek series against the also 5-1 Atlanta Braves will go a long way towards people deciding which NL East team will be the third wheel to the Mets and Phillies this year.
Josh Johnson has basically gone from Cy Young third tier watch list to one of the leading candidates. Baseball Tonight even pretty much declared if he stays healthy all year (which is a concern) he will the win the award.
Emilio Bonifacio received much praise this week and his bandwagon basically went from empty to full. Hell, even I was skeptical with him as the leadoff hitter but he has proven everyone wrong. He is exactly the table setter we need at the top of the lineup and his speed does change games. Being consistent will be the issue now and I wouldn't be surprised if his bandwagon had the largest gains and losses of occupancy of any other player this year.